Get Ready, Get Set, Then Buy a House
Relocating can be a challenge—especially in the Northern Virginia and the D.C. metro area where potential buyers outnumber available homes. More, the tighter 2014 lending laws (http://homes.yahoo.com/news/tighter-mortgage-rules-will-soon-squeeze-these-groups-even-more-005538769.html) are likely to further limit a buyer’s flexibility. Hence, getting pre-approved for a loan, even though you have not looked at houses yet, will make you a powerful buyer.
With that said, the real estate market is based on data and there is plenty available. Thus, careful planning when buying a home is essential. As an Army veteran and military spouse for over 25 years, a quote originating with the military seems particularly apropos to buying a home in this area. “Slow is smooth, smooth is fast.”
Moving fast or rushing to purchase a home is reckless; however, when the opportunity presents itself – the ideal home, the perfect location, one must jump on it. Therefore, do your homework. Spend time researching the average values on homes, study area schools, and focus on the commute to and from work and school. Learn the proximity to the hospital, public transportation, shopping, parks/recreation, and so on. Create a list of “deal-breakers.” In other words, those things you are willing to compromise on and those you are not. Visit websites like www.neighborhoodscout.com; this website will help you to become more familiar with a neighborhood you are considering and/or help match you with your ideal area. Further, traffic in northern Virginia can dampen any great day and hinder one’s productivity tremendously. Login into www.sigalert.com to create a route from one destination to another to view the daily traffic patterns to help you refine your home buying decision.
Next, buying a home is overwhelming and should never be done without a representative; one of the reasons is that real estate has its own language -- CMA, PUD, HUD1, and having a professional on your side to provide you with valuable insight is crucial to one having a truly satisfying home buying experience. Realtors have handled countless real estate transactions and they make a commitment to adhere to a strict code of ethics.
Conversely, hiring your best friend to be your agent may not be in your best interest. One of the most important things about having an agent is that you can fire him or her.
Further, keep in mind that almost everything boils down to dollars and cents, and it makes sense for a buyer to hire a fiduciary representative to negotiate on his or her behalf; if for no other reason, than the seller pays the buyer’s agent’s commission.
Realtor, Long and Foster
Jessie.firstname.lastname@example.org or Jessie.Saucer@aol.com